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Deadline for income tax returns to be extended

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Technical problems have forced the tax department to announce that the deadline for income tax returns for 2019 may be postponed further.

In an announcement on Tuesday, the department said that because of ‘technical issues’,TAXISnet is still not in a position to accept income tax returns by salaried employees and pensioners.

The same applies for the self-employed whose turnover is below €70,000.

“Because of the delay, the tax commissioner plans to extend the deadline for submitting the above returns to after October 30, should the need arise, so as to give all taxpayers the time needed to submit their tax returns correctly and in time,” the official statement said.

The tax department also apologized for any inconvenience that may be created by the protracted delay and assured that there is no reason for concern.

Users of TAXISnet will receive an email when the 2019 income tax form is ready to be submitted, it added.

The tax returns form is usually made available in Spring and the deadline was July 31, but this was delayed at the end of March because of the lockdown as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Officials then said the forms would be uploaded in July. This was postponed to August and then September. As they have still to be uploaded the October 30 deadline to file may well be pushed back.

The department’s announcement came the day Phileleftheros reported that the technical problems delaying the filing of returns were hampering government’s efforts to collect taxes.

In filing their returns, salaried taxpayers must cover any shortfall or be lumbered with interest and a fine. The self-employed must pay their tax when submitting their forms.

Phileleftheros notes that a time when the government is anxious to collect the last cent to ease the strain on public finances because of the pandemic, it remains unclear when tax returns will be filed.

The finance ministry has revised initial projections of €6.9 billion in revenue to €6.15 billion because of the pandemic, of which €2.1billion from direct taxes and €3 billion from indirect taxes, the paper added.

The department’s announcement did not elaborate on what the problem is other than citing technical issues, but according to Phileleftheros the delays are due to changes in the tax department’s IT system by a foreign company which were not completed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Last year, the state generated €1.62 billion from income tax, an increase over the €1.45 billion of 2018.

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